In order to support your child's autonomy, it is primordial to make your house as…
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In our family, we eat every day at the table as a family. Setting up the table is part of the activities that my children have been doing since they were very little.
As toddlers, they would bring their plate, cup and cutlery to the table. When they were a bit older, they would proudly setting up everyone dishes.
What helps a young child to set up the table in an orderly way is a place mat!
During my AMI training, we were suggested to make our own place mat. The idea is to hand stitch the outlines of the plate, cup and cutlery. When it comes to textile skills, I am not the best so I have printed and laminated my own place mat. Or for my playgroup, I simply used a sharpie to draw the outlines of the plate, cup and cutlery on a fabric place mat from IKEA.
This is a traditional practical life activity. In the classroom, it will be available on the shelf on its own. Children will also be invited to set up the table at lunch time. At home you can offer that opportunity more often. Children will love to have that responsibility and will feel valued to have contributed to the family life by setting up a nice table.
Start by inviting your child to setting up his own place mat with his cutlery, plate and cup. It is a bit like a matching activity to start with. It also involves gross motor skills as he carries everything to the table.
When your child can easily set up his own place mat, encourage him to set up the table for everyone.
Further activities could be rolling the napkins into a napkin ring and learning fancy napkin fold. Older children might want to add a bunch of flower in a vase or might want to light a candle.
There are countless commercially available place mats and I wanted to showcase two options here!
The lady behind this shop is local-ish to me and a Montessori childminder. She has so many lovely fabric items on her shop! Place mats but also aprons and 3 parts cards pouches.
This is a London based company set up by a mother who became passionate about Montessori.
Those place mats are made of food-grade silicon and are designed in the UK by a Montessori passionate mum!
I like that we can roll them for storage and wash them fully in soapy water. You have 2 size options, 3 colours and with or without the knife.
This one is my favourite place mat.
Montessori design by Nuccia offers some hand-stitched placemats.
So do you use a place mat? Which one is your favourite?
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This blog post contains affiliate links at no extra cost for you. Thanks for supporting my work. Kids House gifted me their place mat to try.
Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.
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